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Carnap, Rudolf

(169 words)

Author(s): Willaschek, Marcus
[German Version] (May 18, 1891, Ronsdorf – Sep 14, 1970, Santa Monica, CA), a major proponent of the philosophy of logical positivism or empiricism. After studying physics, mathematics, and philosophy (1910–1914), he earned his doctorate from Jena in 1921 with a philosophical dissertation on space. In 1926 he joined the Vienna Circle, a group seeking to use the tools of modern logic to formulate a “scientific world view” based on empiricism. Metaphysics and religion were rejected as empirically untestable and hence meaningless. In 1928 Carnap published his magnum opus, Der logische …

A priori/a posteriori

(572 words)

Author(s): Willaschek, Marcus
[German Version] I. The distinction between a priori ("from the former") and a posteriori ("from the latter") is used by philosophy on various levels. 1. Fundamental is the epistemological distinction between two kinds of epistemic (i.e. cognitive) justifications (e.g. grounds or proofs). A justification is a priori if it is not based on experience; otherwise it is a posteriori. The result is an important distinction between two kinds of knowledge: a true conviction involves a priori knowledge when it can be justified a priori (i.e., independent of experience), otherwise a posterior…

Apriorism

(1,081 words)

Author(s): Willaschek, Marcus
[German Version] I. Forms Past and Present – II. Arguments for and against Apriorism As a collective term for all philosophical conceptions that admit a priori the possibility of non-analytical knowledge ( A priori/A posteriori ), “apriorism” stands for the opposite of Empiricism. Just as the distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge can be drawn in various ways, so can that between apriorism and empiricism. Furthermore, a plethora of conceptions, highly differentiated in detai…

Antinomy

(429 words)

Author(s): Willaschek, Marcus
[German Version] An antinomy is a contradiction between two equally justified statements. This meaning of “antimony” in present-day philosophy and logic goes back to I. Kant; originally it denoted a conflict of laws. According to Kant, when human reason tries to explain the world metaphysically, it inevitably arrives at four antinomies or “conflicts.” These ar…

Existence

(1,114 words)

Author(s): Willaschek, Marcus | Deuser, Hermann
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion and Dogmatics I. Philosophy The philosophical expression, “existence” (Lat. “existential”), first coined in Late Antiquity by Marius Victorinus as a translation of the Greek, ὕπαρξις ( hýparxis, “pre-beginning”), has, since the Middle Ages, referred to ¶ one of the two fundamental aspects of (finite) being: while the essence (“essential”) of a being constitutes what this being is (substance), its existence …

Experience

(3,622 words)

Author(s): Willaschek, Marcus | Stock, Konrad | Köpf, Ulrich | Loder, James E.
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Church History – IV. Fundamental Theology – V. Dogmatics – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology I. Philosophy In a broad sense shaped by daily life in the world, “experience” has been understood since Aristotle ( Metaph. 980b28–982a3) as a kind of knowledge of reality that rests on practical contact and is related to paradigmatic individual cases (Gk ἐμπειρία/ empeiría; Lat. experientia). It does not, therefore, lead to systematic knowledge but remains “knowledge of…